May 23, 2022

Balkan Travellers

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Threat of expulsion, African students fleeing conflict and taking refuge in France express their grief

“My future, my life, everything is lost.” Zakib swallows his words and speaks breathlessly. Sitting on the campus of Maison des Camerounais de France in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, the 23-year-old Algerian student says he escaped the war in Ukraine and arrived in France in early April.

Following maritime studies in the port city of Odessa, located on the shores of the Black Sea, he became a Tech Officer. “Dream”. “I had a permanent residence there, friends, and I learned to speak the languageHe says longingly. I left everything overnight, I just picked up my papers. “

He learned of the outbreak of war on February 24 at 6 p.m. After a journey of several days via Ukraine in a rental car, he reached Poland Then went to Paris by bus. When he reached the French capital, it was in his pocket with a one-month temporary residence permit (APS). “It expires tomorrow. Wait, they will call me, but the PC continues to tell me there is nothing,” he said. He laments, before slipping into Russian, a proverb he translates into French: “My life is multiplied by zero by zero”.

Since March 4, the EU has issued Six months temporary protection People leaving Ukraine. Beneficiaries receive a stipend, entitlement to work, medical care, housing and assistance for their children’s schooling. But only Ukrainian citizens can get it.

Refugees with foreign citizenship must prove that they cannot return to their home country In a safe and stable condition Or benefit by marrying a Ukrainian. In France, the Interior Ministry has instructed the provinces to look into the situation separately.It raises fears of unequal treatment from one department to another. “Explains the French Coalition for Asylum (CFDA) In a press release.

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Was contacted by France24, The Ministry of the Interior states: If a third country national does not qualify for temporary protection, he has the right to return to his home country. However, in the EU, other countries are changing the established structure and welcoming everyone who leaves Ukraine, regardless of national differences, such as Portugal and Spain.

For many students, the only solution to staying in France is to obtain a student visa. “I contacted the universities of Nice, Marseille, Le Havre to register, but they all told me they did not know what to do”, Starts again சாகிப்.

“My goal is not to stay in France permanently, but to complete my studies. Why are they not allowed to do so?”

Saqib, an Algerian student

at franceinfo

“The issue is no longer enrolling because the universities are so open and supportive. The problem is temporary security, without which students will not be able to get cruise scholarships or accommodation.”Explains to Echoes Director of the Deported Student Union.

In addition to this uncertainty about their future, students have to deal with daily routine. “When I left Ukraine, I took the minimum. I left my papers, some clothes and the rest.”, Says Franklin, a Cameroonian student in electromechanics at the University of Gershon in southern Ukraine. The young man arrived in Paris on March 22 and obtained a temporary residence permit, which expired at the end of April. Since then, he has been waiting for a possible update of the document.

In the evening, he sleeps in a trance (Sean-Saint-Denis) in a room discovered by an association. The rest, food, transportation, Franklin continues: “I buy everything myself, living in my storage from Ukraine.” Admits to being “Low morale”.

“Ukrainians have the right to transportation, housing, sanitation, and everything. Non-Ukrainians have nothing.”

Franklin, a Cameroonian student

at franceinfo

Franklin Cameron contacted the embassy but says no help was available. “If France allows me to stay, I will be very happy because leaving the territory scares me,” he said. He slips.

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By his side, 30-year-old Syeda is in a more complicated situation. The Moroccan architecture student left Kharkiv on February 28. During a long trip to France, his suitcase was stolen in Hungary. “I lost a lot of valuables, my documents, my university registration, my residence permit.”, She says. All he has left is his passport. “It is very difficult to take action in France without these documents. My situation is very difficult.”

While waiting for her condition to be resolved, Saida stays in hotels or with associations with volunteers, but hopes to find permanent accommodation soon. “I am motivated to find a solution and continue my studies in France. I do not want to return to Morocco.”